Category Archives: rain barrels

What’s all that racket?


Don’t be fooled by the close-up. This little guy is only about two inches and he (or she) is full-grown. I often find them in the hose barrel during the dry weather.

The biggest (or loudest) news in my backyard are the frogs. I’ve got my spring garden going but it’s breeding season for my backyard frogs, and they are impossible to ignore. But I’m not complaining, it’s a great sound. I was worried about them with all the dry weather, but finally, with the rains, they have come back with a vengeance.  My frogs are Pacific chorus frogs that were rescued from an industrial shop about a mile from my house. I’ve had them for about five years and I thought I’d share some ideas in case you’d like to try having a frog pond in your back yard.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Plan your pond. Put it in the sunniest part of the yard. Frogs like to sun themselves and need warmth in our chilly climate. Make it as big and deep as possible. 6′ wide and 3′ deep is good. My pond is a little smaller but if you have room– go for it. Raccoons  that you never knew existed will show up as soon as pond is in and they love eating frogs and tadpoles. They will wreck everything and really discourage you, but if your pond is big enough the frogs and tadpoles will be able to hide and survive.
  • Plant lots of vegetation around and in your pond. Don’t line the pond with rocks they way they show you in the Sunset pond planning books. Frogs need lots of plants and if you like things too manicured you should reconsider. I put lots of water plants in pots around and in the pond that I allow to get overgrown.
  • Use native plants as much as possible. Mimulus (monkey flower), Scirpus(bulrush), Heracleum(cow parsnip), juncus, water barley are all plants the frogs instinctively know. The native plants attract native bugs and everyone is happy.
  • Don’t let dogs near the pond. Many dogs will eat frogs and then throw-up. It’s really best if you don’t have dogs, especially if they like to get in the water. Cats are not a problem.
  • Don’t get fish! They will eat tadpoles. Use mosquito floats to make sure you don’t get mosquitos. They are safe to use and only affect mosquito larvae.
  • Start with tadpoles and be patient. You may have to try several years before you have success.
  • If you can, get a large aquarium and raise the tadpoles in it outside. You can cover the aquarium with hardware cloth and secure it with heavy rocks to keep them safe from raccoons. And you can make the aquarium look attractive. Add some water plants in and around it.
  • Don’t do it unless you plan to stick with it. You’re creating a habitat and your frogs can’t survive without it.

My frogs are famous this week on the fabulous neighborhood blog Bernalwood. Check them out!